The Kansas City Chiefs returned to practice on Thursday for the first time since locking up an appearance in Super Bowl LVII. They will travel to Arizona next week to face the Philadelphia Eagles with the Lombardi Trophy on the line.
Speaking to the media before his team took the field, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid reiterated the challenge the Eagles — who matched the Chiefs with a 14-3 record and boast one of the league’s most talented rosters — present.
“We look forward to the challenge of playing the Eagles,” the coach stated — no different than any other week. “Good football team — great football team. They’ve got tremendous talent, they’ve got good coaching, and it’s a good organization. I guess you don’t get to this point unless that’s the case. They really do a nice job.”
The Chiefs defeated the Eagles 42-30 in Week 5 of the 2021 season. Speaking after Reid, quarterback Patrick Mahomes noted the improved talent in Philadelphia since the teams last faced each other. In particular, he knows this is not the same defense that he torched for five touchdowns.
“They have a great defensive coordinator, first off,” the league passing leader observed. “He does a lot of different things. Their scheme has evolved because of the players that he has. They have great [players] — All-Pro [and] Pro Bowlers — at every single level. They continue to add talent.
“They have a lot of great players — veteran players mixed with young players. I don’t know if they’re number one, but they’re one of the top defenses in the league for a reason. They get after the quarterback. So it’ll be a great challenge for us to go out there and try to have some success.”
Reid agreed that the Eagles are much improved on both sides of the ball. He credited Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni and executive vice president and general manager Howie Roseman.
“Nick’s done a great job with that team — as has Howie Roseman in the general manager position,” Reid explained. “They’re way more familiar with the schemes — they’ve got a great defensive scheme [and] they’ve got a great offensive scheme — and the players, they’re more comfortable with both sides of that.”
Reid is in a unique position to comment on the performance of Sirianni and Roseman because he effectively had both of their jobs simultaneously. Before coming to Kansas City, Reid was the head coach of the Eagles from 1999 through 2012. From 2001 until his tenure ended, he also had personnel authority as the team’s vice president of football operations.
When Kansas City hired Reid, it was widely assumed he would continue wearing both hats with the Chiefs. But John Dorsey was named general manager and took over personnel duties immediately after the coach’s arrival. Brett Veach replaced Dorsey as the team’s general manager in 2017.
For Reid, the move away from the personnel department was intentional.
“Once I started doing that, you end up spending a lot of time doing that — if you’re going to do it right,” he admitted. “It’s hard to do both. I felt like I got into this because I wanted to coach. On top of that, I’ve got guys around me that are really good. Brett Veach is really good. Dorsey was good.
“So let those guys do their job, and I will focus in on the football part — something I really wanted to get back to and enjoy. I enjoy that part.”
The crossover in coaching between the franchises goes beyond Reid’s 13-season stint with the Eagles. Sirianni was an assistant coach in Kansas City under former head coaches Todd Haley and Romeo Crennel. Reid declined to retain him on the Chiefs’ staff when he took over — but stressed that the decision does not reflect his opinion of his now-colleague.
“I loved his personality,” Reid recalled. “He’s a guy that you can talk to and communicates well. He’s got a fire to him that you appreciate — and the players appreciate. And he’s smart. I had a chance to talk to him — smart kid.
“I think he’s perfect for Philadelphia. That’s a tough place — and he’s a tough kid. He relates well with the people there.”
Despite his tenure ending a decade ago, three Eagles players were drafted by Reid in Philadelphia. Kansas City is familiar with center Jason Kelce; the Eagles chose the older brother of Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce in the sixth round of the 2011 draft. Reid also drafted defensive linemen Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox as first-round selections in 2010 and 2012, respectively.
The coach is happy with how their careers unfolded.
“I’m very proud of those guys,” Reid expressed. “I know them personally, so I’m proud of them. They are tough guys, tough-minded. They’re good leaders, they’re fun to be around, and they’re good football players.
“Each one’s an individual, and each one has their own characteristics — but in general, I would tell you that about them. Great team guys.”